How India are embracing the science of cricket | Cricket coaching, fitness and tips

How India are embracing the science of cricket

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This is a guest article by cricket analyst and author Shaymal Vallabhjee. Shayamal was the Indian analyst at the 2003 World Cup. You can read about his experiences in "Now or Never" an exclusive eBook available now in PitchVision Academy. Click here to download it now.

Why is Sachin is so consistent? Why does Harbhajan turn the ball the other way? Why can Agarkar reverse swing the ball?

All these are questions that can be easily answered with aid from the science of Biomechanics.

Science and technology over the past decade, have taken cricket to a new level. Cricket, the longest competitively played game, continuously surpasses all scientific expectations. The latest being the breaking of the 100mph barrier by Australia’s Brett Lee and Pakistan’s Shoaib Akthar.

As a Sports Scientist and Biomechanicist, the analysis of technique is crucial in determining strengths, weaknesses, areas most prone to chronic injury and limitations within the individual’s game.

Sachin Tendulkar: Art and science combined

Sachin Tendulkar is without a doubt currently the most consistent player on the international circuit. His ability to adjust his game in the middle of an innings coupled with his truly professional approach are factors that contribute to his success.

One incidence that stands out during World Cup 2003, was Sachin’s preparation for Caddick at Kingsmead.

We all knew that Caddick would extract exceptional bounce from this wicket and keeping the ball down was definitely going to be a challenge.

Sachin’s approach to Caddick began by altering his stance. By increasing the distance between his legs, he successfully increased his base making him more stable. This gave him the opportunity to free his arms through the line of the ball without much feet movement, allowing him a fraction of a second longer.  

The result was that any delivery fractional short was dismissed to the boundary. An attacking approach, a stable base, good balance and excellent eye hand coordination are reasons why he is the best.

Ashish Nehra: Generating swing with body position

India’s successful World Cup campaign was duly aided by left arm seam bowler Ashish Nehra.

Nehra is not a typical side on bowler and his semi front on approach makes him least susceptible to chronic knee injuries which are extremely common in left armers. His conventional approach allows him to naturally swing the ball into the right hand batter, and more importantly gives him the option of holding his line at will.

Nehra’s ability to take the ball away from the right hander results in the batter counter rotating their hips and pivoting their toes, forcing them to play inside out and making them susceptible to nicking off or being caught at cover.

Harbhajan Singh: The secret of the doosra

The strength of Indian cricket has always reliant on the success of its spinners. In the case of Harbhajan there is no exception. His ability to turn a ball on almost any surface coupled with his secret method of taking the ball away from the right hander has left most batsmen bamboozled. His consistent loop and dip and positively attacking attitude means that most batters must look to survive.

Telling you how to read Harbhajan’s other delivery would be a grave injustice to Indian cricket; however I can say that the secret lies in his ability to hyperextend and counter rotate his wrist.

It is important to remember that the success of a spinner does not lie solely in his ability to turn the ball but also how he goes about trying to deceive a batter in flight.

This brief introduction to the science of cricket with regards to the Indian players is but only the tip of the iceberg. Every movement can be justified by science and it is the understanding of this science that will propel Indian cricket beyond boundaries of anyone’s expectations. Science will always present a solution but it is up to the individual to accept this solution.

If you want to be better than your previous self, then you have to change the way you do things because being willing to win is important but being prepared to win is critical.

Now or Never: The Story of the Indian Cricket Team at World Cup 2003 is available on PitchVision Academy. Click here to download it instantly.

image credit: r@vith


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